If you don’t follow at least one food account on Instagram, you’re doing it wrong. Ever since Instagram launched in 2010, food lovers have taken to the app to share, comment on, and “like” photos from other food lovers. We chatted with the founders of @friendswithforks, a New York City based food account with over 4,300 followers. This account was started by Hamilton ’13 graduates Claire Corroon and Eliza Howe, along with co-founder Lauren Denowitz.
What were your majors and what activities were you involved in at Hamilton?
Claire: I was a psychology major and studio art and French minor. I was on the squash team for all four years, captain my senior year, and was also in PBX.
Eliza: I majored in Economics. I played basketball all four years and was captain my senior year as well. Also a member of PBX! Claire and I are really different…
Where are you all from?
Claire: We are all from Connecticut – Claire from West Hartford, Eliza and Lauren from Westport.
Where do you live now?
Eliza: We all live in New York City.
Who came up with the idea of Friends with Forks, and how did it become successful?
Claire: Friends with Forks was born at Root & Bone in the East Village during the summer of 2014. We were eating brunch when Eliza, Lauren, and I realized that we all had rather impressively large arsenals of food pictures on our phones. It was a both funny and embarrassing realization, and discovering this, we decided we needed an outlet for all of these pictures as we were hesitant to keep posting gluttonous dishes on our personal Instagram accounts.
Eliza: That afternoon we pooled all of our food pictures together, drank a few Bloody Mary’s to get our creative juices flowing, and BOOM, Friends with Forks was born. We launched around 60 pictures on Day 1 as a foundation, and our follower base grew pretty quickly right from there. We recently hit 4,000 followers which was really exciting, and we have started to partner with restaurants and brands to feature their products and menu items.
What do you like about food photography?
Claire: There is no sadder moment than the last bite of an amazing meal. Taking a picture of it allows you to relive that moment over and over again. It’s also fun to play around with angles. For example, a birds-eye view of a brunch table scene will convey a completely different message than focusing on chocolate oozing out of a molten lava cake.
I’m drooling over every one of your pictures. Do you have a favorite photo you’ve posted?
Claire: I definitely have a soft spot for our pictures from Root & Bone, since we were born there. It’s kind of funny to see how our pictures are received by our followers. The pictures that we consider to be epic, may not get the most amount of likes, when some pictures that we think are just OK, end up blowing us out of the park. One of my favorites is the waffle smothered in Nutella that we posted a few weeks ago – mainly because I’m craving Nutella right now.
Eliza: I’m obsessed with @foodintheair and have made it my life mission to get re-grammed by that account. So any picture holding drool-worthy food in the air, with an awesome background, is a favorite mine. Also, our picture of scrambled eggs & prosciutto on toast from Buvette in the West Village – a friend and I hiked through winter storm Juno to find that this small French cafe was open and serving delicious brunch during a blizzard.
Lauren: One of my personal favorites is a photo taken last summer at Madison Square Eats – an outdoor pop-up market up with yummy restaurant vendors from all throughout the NY boroughs. The picture is a birds-eye-view of Roberta’s “Bee Sting” pizza – spicy soprasetta, mozzarella, chili flakes and honey -and below the pizza is a colorful, warm-weather tablecloth […don’t forget…. sometimes a food picture is only as good as the context you put it in].
Favorite Instagram filters or editing apps?
Claire: We actually don’t really use filters for our pictures. Food is different than scenery or people in that a filter can completely change the look and color of the dish. For example, it can make pesto pasta look neon green – not appetizing.
Eliza: Brightness & Sharpen is where it’s at.
Most important food photography tip?
Eliza: Lighting is key. Natural light is always the best, which is why brunch pictures are the easiest to take, but if you’re out to dinner or in a dark place, have a friend hold their iPhone flashlight above the plate then take the picture. It works much better than using flash on your phone.
Any fantastic food-related stories or memories from your time at Hamilton? Or favorite Clinton, NY area restaurant?
Claire: Most of my food-related stories from Hamilton came from cooking in our kitchen in our downtown house during our Senior Year. While there is something to be said for truffle mac and cheese from New York’s hottest restaurant, a home-cooked meal in your own kitchen with friends will never disappoint. As for my favorite Clinton, NY restaurant: Opus. Hands down.
Eliza: My favorite food-related memories from Hamilton usually happened after 2am in [our] kitchen, making runny eggs and pancakes for anyone brave enough to try them. It was always a good (questionably ratchet) scene in that kitchen, no matter the time of day. Favorite Utica area restaurant is a tie between good ole Nola’s and Piggy Pats. Also, if the line at Charlie’s is too long on Sunday morning, head to Nothin’ Fancy…it will not disappoint you.
Could you give us some NYC food recommendations?
Claire: Too many to even begin. We are in the middle of launching a website that will have all of our faves narrowed down by cuisine and location, so definitely be on the lookout for that! But if you haven’t been to Gato, you’re doing it wrong.
Lauren: This is like asking parents which child is their favorite – such a tough choice, although they probably have one… If I HAD to choose a few right now, they would be: Mighty Quinns BBQ, Gato, Paulie Gee’s and Pio Pio.
Be sure to follow @friendswithforks for more pictures, and for more food on Instagram, check these out: